To some, the world is a Manichean struggle between Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the wimp-ass god of nurture and sentimentality a cosmic Love Boat, plying the seas of fantasy and treacle. It’s a female thing best kept confined to the hearth and the nursery.
Thanatos, on the other hand, is the stern-faced god of morality, with his call to self-discipline and sacrifice. He is the god of manly death.
We have a choice between living the adrenalin high offered by the slash-and-burn world of Thanatos, or the numbness of love and sentiment that is the legacy of Eros. Thanatos demands orderly ranks; Eros tolerates an unruly rabble. Thanatos is bracing liberation; Eros is stifling boredom.
Our problem is that Thanatos is a little too stern, and sternness is so yesterday. We’ve got to lighten up his image and repackage him to increase his marketability. He needs multiple identities that appeal to all segments of the fragmented demographic we call America.
He will need many costumes to fulfill his multiple roles: the dress-down fashion of the Yuppie, the ragged robes of the mendicant, torn jeans, funky T-shirts, body piercings and tattoos.
Let him polish his Mercedes, recharge his cell and ramp up the sound system until the walls quake!
Let him dance with abandoned gaiety; drive the beat of his dance macabre with the throbbing riff of guitar and drum! Place a Bible in his hand and let him invoke the loving wrath of the redemptive Christ, leading the masses into the yawning jaws of the apocalypse.
It’s the mad dance of slaughter and destruction, sanitized by the rose-colored glasses of the thirty-second spot! It makes the heart sing songs of joyful dirges and lamentations!
But, I am spent. The wine bottle is empty and the last roach has turned to ash. I go now to sleep the sleep of the manly dead.